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Today, hats are a part of most people’s wardrobe in some way. Whether they continuously sport a baseball cap or have a vast collection of hats they whip out in winter, most individuals have at least one hat to their name. In past generations, wearing a hat was a daily occurrence for both men and women, and with that undertaking came societal rules that everyone conformed to. While modern society doesn’t judge hat wearers too harshly, there are still some rules of hat etiquette that we continue to follow today.
In the past, people were allowed to wear hats outside whenever they wanted. However, wearing your hat indoors depended on the situation. For women, they could wear their hats indoors and outdoors whenever they wanted. Women only had to remove a hat inside if they wore a baseball cap, if they were attending a meal, or if their hat would provide an inconvenience or visual obstruction to someone else, like in a theater.
Men, however, had to remove their hats when going into homes, restaurants, schools, churches, and businesses. The only time men were allowed to wear their hats indoors was if they were in a public space like a train station, hotel lobby, or on public transportation. Men would doff their hats (remove them slightly off their heads) as a greeting or when being introduced to someone, and were required to remove their hats during weddings, funerals, meals, and the national anthem.
In most modern instances, people have eschewed these rules. Men and women alike wear hats most anywhere, except in formal or business settings. It’s still more polite if you remove your hat in homes, churches, theaters, and while the national anthem is being performed, but if you don’t, most people won’t comment on it.
Here are some more rules that governed hat wearers in the past:
- For people who wore hats with ornaments on them, women would wear the decorations on the right side of their hats, while the men were to wear them on the left.
- After removing a hat, people were expected to hold it with the inner lining facing the body, so others couldn’t see inside the hat.
- Tipping the hat by grabbing the brim and pulling it down slightly was considered a polite way to greet someone.
While society has changed quite a bit since these rules were developed, some vestiges still remain and should be observed for optimal tact and class.
In today’s casual culture, it is not uncommon to find someone wearing a hat. Anyone can wear a hat anywhere and anytime they feel like it. However, in the past, there are strict rules when it comes to hat wearing. Some examples are removing your hat in church or when entering someone’s house. While these may already sound old and obsolete, some of these rules are still in practice today. Find out what these are in this infographic.